Billy Downer must face jail time of 15 years! – Adv Mpofu

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Former president Jacob Zuma wants prosecutor Billy Downer to be jailed. Photo by Jabulani Langa
Former president Jacob Zuma wants prosecutor Billy Downer to be jailed. Photo by Jabulani Langa

FORMER President Jacob Zuma wants prosecutor Billy Downer sent to jail for 15 years for leaking his sick note.  

His lawyer Advocate Dali Mpofu SC, told the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Wednesday, 22 March, that the crime Downer committed infringed Zuma’s rights.  

Mpofu said the case was about human rights and many other things wrong in the country.  

"This is no game. We are dealing with one of the most egregious crimes in our legislation. Sometimes murderers get less than that,” he said.  

Zuma instituted a private prosecution against Downer, accusing the senior prosecutor of leaking his private medical records to News24 journalist Karyn Maughan. 

Downer is the prosecutor in Zuma’s arms deal trial.  

Mpofu said the alleged crime of disclosing information without the consent of the National Director of Public Prosecutions was punishable by 15 years in prison.  

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He said section 41 (6) of the NPA Act says a prosecutor is not allowed to disclose "any information" about a medical record to any other person.   

Mpofu said Zuma was in court to assert his constitutional right. 

Downer told the court on Monday, 20 March, that Advocate Andrew Breitenbach SC gave the information to Maughan.  

He said he knew about the "leak" after it had happened.  

Both Downer and Maughan want the matter to be thrown out of court claiming that it is meant to "stifle" the free press.  

Mpofu said it was a lie that the document was a public document. 

"It's a blue lie," he said.  

Another Zuma lawyer, Advocate Thabani Masuku SC, said there was no evidence that the private prosecution case has affected the freedom of the media to report freely.  

"It's not true that this case is by a person with the power to stifle dissent and criticism," said Masuku. 

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